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Fri, Aug 29, 2014

WOODY: Pudgy pets add up to weighty problem

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I saw a story on TV awhile back about an alarming situation: Our pets are getting too plump.

The story claimed that we pamper our pooches and coddle our kitties too much by feeding them every time they get the munchies. For most pets, that’s 24 hours a day.

In addition to being over-fed, most modern-day pets don’t get enough exercise. They lie around the house all day eating, snoozing and watching the Animal Planet on TV.

Back in the Good Old Days pets had to earn their keep. Cats were expected to keep mice out of the house and rats out of the barn. A good mouse catcher was known as a “mouser.” Most of today’s cats wouldn’t chase a mouse if it bit them.

Dogs used to work on the farm, point quail, retrieve ducks for hunters and go for help when Timmy fell down the well. Nowadays if Timmy yelled for help, Lassie would just press a paw on 911.

There’s not many quail left to point, and my black Lab buddy wouldn’t fetch a duck if it dropped dead in the living from.

When it comes to coddling our critters I’m as guilty as the next person. We keep the food dish filled for Buddy, who earns his keep by napping and scratching.

When we got Buddy I imagined him romping through the Great Outdoors at my side, splashing through icy water and retrieving downed mallards.

Turned out, Buddy’s allergic to cold water. Or any other water that’s not in a bowl beside his food dish. We’ve got the world’s only Labrador retriever that won’t go near the water. We have to tie his leash to a tree to give him a bath.

When Buddy was a puppy he’d chase an occasional squirrel in the back yard but we could tell his heart wasn’t in it. He’d dash off the porch, barking, but after a few bounds he’d stop, shrug, and go lie down in the shade.

I guess he figured it was too much trouble. Besides, what would he do with a squirrel if he caught one?

Sometimes if he’s feeling really frisky Buddy will work up enough energy to yap at the raccoons that invade our back-porch bird feeder. The raccoons ignore him. They know he’s all bark and no bite.

No wonder he’s an over-stuffed lard Lab.

According to the TV report, if we really love our pets we’ll cut back on their calories and encourage them to get some exercise. One pet owner put her pampered pooch on a doggie tread-mill. Next thing we know he’ll be enrolled in a health spa and have his own personal trainer.

Another pet fad: diet meals. It’s the big thing in the billion-dollar pet food industry: lean kitty cuisine. What’s next? Jenny Craig for canines?

Some pet owners will do anything for their portly pooch or fat cat, but I draw the line at spending more on my dog’s supper than I spend on my own.

What happened to feeding pets table scraps? If a feline is too finicky or a pooch too picky, maybe they should spend a little time in back alleys prowling into garbage cans to see how the other half lives.

I’m reminded of my pal Bob, who owns a large dog and one day was complaining about the mutt’s enormous food bill. One of Bob’s friends suggested feeding the dog turnip greens to cut costs.

“I don’t think my dog will eat turnip greens,” Bob said.

“Neither would mine,” said his friend, “for the first two or three weeks.”

Wonder if Buddy likes his greens steamed or broiled?

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Larry Woody
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Health, Larry Woody, Pets, Voices
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